Aussies a step closer to Germany

Australia are one victory away from a berth at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ after winning through to the semi-finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup being played in Chengdu, China.

The Matildas defeated Korea Republic 3-1 on Friday which, combined with their win against Vietnam earlier in the week, has the team clear at the top of the group standings with six points. Despite a scoreless first half, the match was an open affair, and although creating more openings, the Australians had to wait until six minutes after the restart to score as defender Kim Carroll volleyed home from close range after a well-flighted corner. Further goals from Lisa De Vanna and substitute Sam Kerr sealed the win although Kang Sun-Mi scored a deserved consolation with the Koreans battling valiantly until the final whistle.

The second match of the evening saw host nation China PR improve dramatically on their opening scoreless encounter against Korea Republic to hit five unanswered goals past Vietnam. Li Danyang, Yuan Fan, Zhang Rui and captain Bi Yan all scored in the first half, while fit-again striker Han Duan got her name on the score sheet at the start of the second half to wrap up the win.

China now need just a draw in their final match against Australia tomorrow to stay ahead of Korea Republic, who must win handsomely against Vietnam to have any hope of a ticket to the semi-finals. The 11-day AFC Women’s Asian Cup doubles as qualifying for Germany 2011 with the top three nations to earn passage to the 16-nation women’s showpiece tournament.